Have you noticed lately that every time you go into a Starbucks during busy hours, the Barista is making drink after drink for online orders?
If you grab a sandwich or something to eat, you probably finish it up -and almost digest it- before they call your Starbucks name and hand you your non-fat, decaf, extra whatever, cannot-make-it-upuccino.
In the meanwhile the mobile order section is overflowing with drinks and you see an endless promenade of self-righteous individuals (at least that’s how they look to me when I am impatient for my caffeine) just come in and pick up their drink. They don’t even look at you, like if you were some different cast that doesn’t even deserve attention.
Apparently, whoever designed the process thought it would be a good idea to use a single Queue. (BTW, Does anybody reading here know why? Can you explain?).
I am assuming that it was just a relative perception of fairness. Just taking a first-come/first-serve approach.
But nothing is farther from the truth, because digital interactions break a few of these rules.
To “get in line” at the coffee shop, you have to first get there, you have to know what to get, and then you have to wait until it is your turn and you get a chance to talk to a cashier to place your order. NOW you are in the Barista’s queue.
With digital, it all changes. First, you don’t have to be at the store (I mean, isn’t that the whole idea?), you can even underestimate the time it will take you to get out of the shower and get to the pickup window, so you could technically order 15 minutes later. So there it is: unnecessarily skipping in front of the line (super-rude).
Second, there is no waiting for a cashier. In digital, every “visitor” gets their very own copy of a “digital cashier”, and they can place their order as soon as they want to. So again: skipping in front of the line.
Third, with a digital journey, the system can also alert the customer when their drink is ready, shifting the balance of time allocation even further.
The gist of it is that when contrasting a digital journey with brick-and-mortar, there has to be a different measure of fairness. The digital platform already affords tremendous advantages to the user, they are privileged, so actually giving priority to on-site, in-person orders would make more sense and will be more fair.
There is only one aspect of digital that benefits those in the coffee shop: those undecided customers, you know, the ones that place an order, then change their mind, then add a few things here, have questions, etc. Those can take all the time in the world on their digital platform and they won’t be holding up the line.